Dak Prescott bet on himself, and he’s about to win.
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback, who rejected an offer last season which would have paid him $33 million per year, is “actively” negotiating with the team regarding a “big-money, long-term extension” that is expected to make Prescott one of, if not the NFL‘s highest-paid player, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.
“My understanding is, both parties are actively talking and would love to get something done,” Rapoport said, cautioning that discussions “are not that simple” and suggesting an agreement isn’t close.
Rapoport previously reported Thursday the sides still have “so many details” to hammer out before Prescott puts pen to paper.
So, too, did ESPN’s Ed Werder, who briefed a source close to the situation and was informed talks are “not contentious and Prescott will emerge as highest-paid NFL player.”
Werder also noted an important obstacle — or lack thereof — by pointing to the Cowboys’ COVID-caused postponement of their offseason program, which was set to begin April 6. The two-time Pro Bowl passer subtly implied in January he’d hold out from team activities barring a long-term deal.
News of resumed activity between the Cowboys and Prescott’s agent, Todd France, first emerged Wednesday, after Yahoo Sports fantasy writer Liz Loza heard a “whisper” that Dak was “close” to a four-year extension worth $35 million annually. Multiple local beat reporters then followed up with their respective sources.
“#Cowboys front office source says they have made recent progress with QB Dak Prescott, including recent visits and a new offer from the Cowboys is on the table,” WFAA’s Mike Leslie tweeted, clarifying Dallas “met” Prescott remotely, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Source: The #Cowboys have resumed contract negotiations with Dak Prescott for the first time since using the exclusive franchise tag on him,” Werder tweeted. “A team source said the #NFL currently shows a $26.8M charge to the cap for Prescott even though he has not signed the franchise tender.”
The Cowboys reportedly have floated two offers to France, once during the 2019 season and once following last month’s NFL Scouting Combine. The first proposal would have netted his client $33 million annually, with $105 million guaranteed. The second supposedly was in the $33.5 million-per-year range, likely eclipsing Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff.
Dallas applied the exclusive franchise tag to Prescott on March 16. The tag, which prohibits him from speaking with outside teams, is valued at approximately $33 million for 2020. If it’s signed, he’d earn the most money in a single season by any player in franchise history.
As it stands, the club has until July 15 to ink Prescott to a multi-year pact.
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Financial Barometer for Prescott
A report earlier this offseason revealed the 2016 fourth-round pick is pushing to surpass Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who’s on the books for a league-high $35 million in average annual value. Wilson signed a four-year, $140 million ($107 million guaranteed) megadeal in April 2019.
It’s likely Prescott also passes Goff, who was awarded an NFL-record $110 million in guarantees as part of his four-year, $134 million extension, signed last September. Prescott turned down the Cowboys’ initial proposal assumingly because he’d remain stuck behind Goff’s AAV.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is the sport’s richest signal-caller (and player) in terms of total value. Ryan landed $150 million and $94.5 million in fully guaranteed cash on a five-year contract — or $30 million per year.
That the Cowboys and Prescott’s camp picked up where they left off encouraging, especially after a bout of radio silence, but the overall sticking point remains the same: length. Prescott prefers a four-year pact, giving him the opportunity to re-test the market before he turns 30, while the organization is shooting for a five-year solution — standard operating procedure when extending current players.
“When you start seeing Dak Prescott connected to a 4-year deal for $35 per, @LizLoza_FF was the first on that,” Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson tweeted Wednesday. “I’ve also been told by a source that the #Cowboys are still pushing five years. Question is who wants this deal done worse (and the answer to that question is Dallas).”
Prescott put a bow atop his rookie pact — receiving “just” $2.025 million for his effort — with a career season in 2019, throwing for 4,902 yards, one shy of the club’s single-season record, and spearheading the league’s top-ranked offense in yards per game and second-best aerial attack.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL